Visual field representation in striate and prestriate cortices of a prosimian primate (Galago garnetti)

Marcello G.P. Rosa, Vivien A. Casagrande, Todd Preuss, Jon H. Kaas

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Microelectrode mapping techniques were used to study the visuotopic organization of the first and second visual areas (V1 and V2, respectively) in anethestized Galago garnetti, a lorisiform prosimian primate. 1) V1 occupies ~200 mm2 of cortex, and is pear shaped, rather than elliptical as in simian primates. Neurons in V1 form a continuous (1st-order) representation of the visual field, with the vertical meridian forming most of its perimeter. The representation of the horizontal meridian divides V1 into nearly equal sectors representing the upper quadrant ventrally, and the lower quadrant dorsally. 2) The emphasis on representation of central vision is less marked in Galago than in simian primates, both diurnal and nocturnal. The decay of cortical magnification factor with increasing eccentricity is almost exactly counterbalanced by an increase in average receptive field size, such that a point anywhere in the visual field is represented by a compartment of similar diameter in V1. 3) Although most of the cortex surrounding V1 corresponds to V2, one-quarter of the perimeter of V1 is formed by agranular cortex within the rostral calcarine sulcus, including area prostriata. Although under our recording conditions virtually every recording site in V2 yielded visually responsive cells, only a minority of those in area prostriata revealed such responses. 4) V2 forms a cortical belt of variable width, being narrowest (~1 mm) in the representation of the area centralis and widest (2.5-3 mm) in the representation of the midperiphery (>20°eccentricity) of the visual field. V2 forms a second-order representation of the visual field, with the area centralis being represented laterally and the visual field periphery medially, near the calcarine sulcus. Unlike in simians, the line of field discontinuity in Galago V2 does not exactly coincide with the horizontal meridian: a portion of the lower quadrant immediately adjacent to the horizontal meridian is represented at the rostral border of ventral V2, instead of in dorsal V2. Despite the absence of cytochrome oxidase stripes, the visual field map in Galago V2 resembles the ones described in simians in that the magnification factor is anisotropic. 5) Receptive field progressions in cortex rostral to dorsal V2 suggest the presence of a homologue of the dorsomedial area, including representations of both quadrants of the visual field. These results indicate that many aspects of organization of V1 and V2 in simian primates are shared with lorisiform prosimians, and are therefore likely to have been present in the last common ancestor of living primates. However, some aspects of organization of the caudal visual areas in Galago are intermediate between nonprimates and simian primates, reflecting either an intermediate stage of differentiation or adaptations to a nocturnal niche. These include the shape and the small size of V1 and V2, the modest degree of emphasis on central visual field representation, and the relatively large area prostriata.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3193-3217
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

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